Return to The Familiar (essay)

Book #41 in the series Animorphs by K.A. Applegate.

Disclaimer: If you've heard of Animorphs and you're thinking "Aww, how cute," maybe you should read my introduction to the first book to see how wrong you are.

THE FAMILIAR

Animorphs #41
by K.A. Applegate

Summarized Plot:

After one of their battles during which Jake had to leave Marco and Rachel to fend for themselves, Cassie and Tobias seem traumatized and withdrawn, respectively, and Jake does nothing to comfort them. He just can't deal with it, and then doesn't use much caution coming home, where he's seen by Tom entering the house in suspicious spandex clothes. He goes to bed, but when he wakes up he's in some kind of alternate future and he's ten years older. Finding out that everyone thinks he's a Controller with a Yeerk named Essak, he explores this world of Yeerk-controlled future New York, and finds quite a few things that just don't seem to add up.

He finds future Cassie, who's a Controller but her Yeerk is in the EF--Evolution Front--dedicated to make Yeerks turn away from parasitism. But Cassie is a war-hardened terrorist now. He finds out from her that Marco and Ax are Controllers and that Rachel is dead, and gets very confused as Cassie tries to get him to use his apparent status to mess up a plot to turn the moon into a Kandrona emitter. Jake later gets captured by Controller Marco, who is trying to destroy the EF.

Fighting to figure out what his priorities are and what his mission is and who he should hide from, Jake ends up having to choose between destroying the ray that will let the Yeerks take over the world . . . and saving Cassie from a fatal fall. After he makes his choice, he is sucked back to his own reality with a voice in his head saying he made an interesting choice, and he knows this wasn't an Ellimist trick but doesn't know what it was. He does know, however, that Cassie is a high priority in his life and that he needs to act like it. He calls her and asks her if she's okay.

About this book:

Narrator: Jake

New known controllers:

  • Pretty much everyone from the alternate future
  • Cassie
  • Marco
  • Ax
  • Jake's father

New morphs acquired:

  • Jake: None
  • Cassie: None
  • Marco: None
  • Rachel: None
  • Ax: None
  • Tobias: None

Notable:

  • This book was ghostwritten by Ellen Geroux.

  • This book came out about a year before the September 11th tragedy, so the New York skyline included the World Trade Center, named specifically as a way that Jake recognizes he is in New York.

  • The Yeerk name Jake gets called by in his future world is Essak-Twenty-Four-Twelve-Seven-Five. Awfully big number. It suggests the Yeerks are much more plentiful now.

  • Aliens called the Orff are introduced here. They have single eyes with pupils that orbit the iris, and they have seemingly transparent skin, long necks, and three legs, and the appearance of organs under their skin are actually decoys.

  • It's odd that Jake would be so sure Tobias must be dead after he'd already seen an ancient red-tailed hawk and even wondered if it was Tobias. Even though it turns out Tobias wasn't that hawk, it seems like an inconsistent thought for Jake.

  • Marco is described as having battle scars on his face. That seems unlikely if he is still able to morph. Same with Rachel, who's much worse off; why is she crippled if she can still morph? It's never explained why their morphing abilities were taken away, but since the world has many inconsistencies perhaps this was engineered to make Jake wonder about the reality. His own inability to morph at one point could have been part of this as well.

  • Jake describes seeing purple-blue Hork-Bajir blood. Because this book is a constructed reality, it's not necessarily true that everything has to be true to life, but in a previous book Hork-Bajir blood is green-blue, not purple-blue.

  • Jake describes walking in a library and stopping when he gets to the E aisle. Libraries aren't organized by letter. They're organized by Dewey Decimal--by subjects. There shouldn't be an E aisle.

Best lines:

Jake: "Jake, you didn't plan this one, but now it's time to deal."

Cassie: "In a war, Jake, anything is justified. I'm not a kid anymore. I'm not concerned with the nonsense I used to be."
Jake: "Like life and peace?"

Tobias: "Victory without self-sacrifice? You know better than that."
Jake: "You don't have to give up your principles to win."

Tobias: "Save one or save many? The choice wasn't so hard for you at the Ragsin Building, when you left Marco and Rachel to save themselves. This is war, Jake. Sacrifices must be made."

Jake: I'd set the example. I was to blame for Cassie's hardness and Tobias's indifference.



Next book: The Journey, Animorphs #42

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